Graduate Students
Samantha Lee, PhD Student | Doris Onuzulu, MSc Student | Zahra Sepehri, MSc Student

Samantha Lee, PhD Student   

I am a PhD student in the Jones lab. My research involves examining the epigenetic mechanisms underlying the developmental origins of health and disease. Specifically, I am investigating how prenatal and early-life exposure to ambient air pollution alters DNA methylation patterns through childhood and identifying which of these patterns also contribute to the development of childhood allergenic phenotypes. Through this research I hope to gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying altered childhood health outcomes. Ultimately, I hope that this data can be used to direct future research aiming to develop accessible methods to prevent or reverse the effects of early-life air pollutant exposure.

After completing my PhD I hope to find myself in a position where I can utilize my skills in computational biology, epigenetics, and genetics to increase our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying complex diseases and towards the development of more effective treatments and/or preventative measures.


Doris Onuzulu, MSc Student

I have about three years’ experience in developmental epigenetics. I initially became interested in epigenetics during my MSc degree because it is a relatively new field especially in Nigeria where I come from. For my master’s research, I investigated the effects of in utero aflatoxin B1 on tumor suppressor methylation because aflatoxin B1 exposure is a public health concern especially in the tropics. My current project is very similar but focuses on effects of maternal cigarette smoke exposure in mice. Cigarette smoking is still a cause for concern even with numerous campaigns against its use.I am especially interested in developmental origins of diseases because of the great plasticity of the in utero period. I plan to continue in this line of research as I believe very little is known about the epigenetic origins of childhood diseases and I can be a major contributor to that.


Zahra Sepehri, MSc Student  

My epigenetic interest is about epigenetic processes that control normal growth and development and its deregulation in diseases such as cancer.